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Author Topic: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!  (Read 463 times)

SHARK

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Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« on: January 16, 2021, 07:18:57 AM »
Greetings!

In my campaigns, I use several tables in which to provide various enchanted Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls with different attributes and powers. Such works provide numerous expansions of campaign details, history, and mystical lore, besides enhancing a spellcaster's access to spells or magical formulae and rituals.

Do you provide such details and powers to these kinds of books and scrolls in your own campaigns?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

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Greentongue

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Re: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2021, 08:41:04 PM »
Do your players actually use them or just say, "Very nice", stash them and move on?
While detailed objects can be fun to make. they are a lot of extra effort that often gets passed over after a quick glance by players.

Thornhammer

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Re: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2021, 11:06:31 PM »
I had a game where the players asked questions about the scrolls they found, so I tracked "which god is powering this scroll" and "which wizard made this scroll."

The PCs knew that scrolls written by Gambino the Fabulous would have especially flamboyant spell effects (lot of glitter explosions, dancing disco lights, so on and so forth), or scrolls written by Vargash would be about double the potency you'd expect, or scrolls written by Elagabalus the Inexperienced have a fairly significant chance of backfiring and are best sold to unsuspecting suckers or saved for later transcription where the errors can be corrected.

And also that the Lawful Good cleric is probably best off avoiding reading spells written in blood on fairly suspicious looking parchment.

Sometimes that level of detail flies, sometimes it goes unappreciated.

moonsweeper

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Re: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2021, 11:32:53 PM »
Greetings!

In my campaigns, I use several tables in which to provide various enchanted Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls with different attributes and powers. Such works provide numerous expansions of campaign details, history, and mystical lore, besides enhancing a spellcaster's access to spells or magical formulae and rituals.

Do you provide such details and powers to these kinds of books and scrolls in your own campaigns?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

I do if it is at all possible.  Themed spell=books/tomes are a great resource for hooks, information, or just cool effects.

I had a game where the players asked questions about the scrolls they found, so I tracked "which god is powering this scroll" and "which wizard made this scroll."

The PCs knew that scrolls written by Gambino the Fabulous would have especially flamboyant spell effects (lot of glitter explosions, dancing disco lights, so on and so forth), or scrolls written by Vargash would be about double the potency you'd expect, or scrolls written by Elagabalus the Inexperienced have a fairly significant chance of backfiring and are best sold to unsuspecting suckers or saved for later transcription where the errors can be corrected.

And also that the Lawful Good cleric is probably best off avoiding reading spells written in blood on fairly suspicious looking parchment.

Sometimes that level of detail flies, sometimes it goes unappreciated.

I randomize scroll effects, but I never thought about specific effects based on known authors for scrolls, I just worked with the tomes...I'm gonna have to steal this one. 
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 11:35:54 PM by moonsweeper »
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Mishihari

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Re: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2021, 11:49:49 PM »
I never thought of doing this, but now I have to try it. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2021, 11:55:10 AM »
There's always fun to be had with 'fleshing out' items and giving them some character.

While a lot of wizards put traps on their tomes, you don't see other security measures. Anything from 'if you don't bypass this spell, you never seem to get past the cantrip entries' to 'the spells have a little catch that lets the wizard track you when you cast them' would be nasty.

SHARK

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Re: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2021, 09:44:00 PM »
Do your players actually use them or just say, "Very nice", stash them and move on?
While detailed objects can be fun to make. they are a lot of extra effort that often gets passed over after a quick glance by players.

Greetings!

Yes, indeed, Greentongue, I use detailed wizard tomes, holy books, and mystical scrolls in my campaigns all the time. The players love the extra details that such items provide. There are often special attributes and powers that such books possess, and provide their owners with enhanced capabilities, as well as knowledge.

For example, I have some holy books which provide Clerics and Paladins with special prayers, enhanced spell capabilities, and stronger abilities in resisting and fighting against dark spirits and demonic forces, engaging in spiritual warfare, and providing communities or surrounding areas with stronger spiritual defenses. Some religious books provide deeper understanding of theology, enhanced powers of spiritual discernment, dream interpretations, understanding ancient prophecies, and greater powers in making use of Words of Faith.

Some Wizard Tomes provide enhanced knowledge of foreign languages, foreign cultures, ancient history, mystical lore, as well as deeper knowledge of golem construction, alchemy, crystal lore, ancient summoning rituals, and the harnessing and use of Ley Lines and Nexus Sites.

Different Mystical Books and scrolls can provide enhanced abilities to summoned creatures, access Mystical Gates, Nature Rituals, specialized recipes for magical tattoos, the crafting of enchanted beads and feathers, as well as various uses of mystical chants, tribal choruses, ritual body painting, sex magic, and using secrets of humanoid and animal blending.

Players also sometimes come across intelligent, sentient books, which provide a whole new dimension to the owning character's relationship to the enchanted, intelligent book.

The players in my groups love these kinds of extra details!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Wizard Tomes, Holy Books, and Mystical Scrolls!
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2021, 11:49:49 AM »
I like to put a few things like that in, but not on every item.  Unless "every item" is such a small list because of the scarcity of magic in the setting that indicates a lot of local variation.  Basically, I assume that, for example, wizards from roughly present day, using roughly the same ideas, are producing scrolls and such that their fellow wizards can more or less understand.  It's when you get into wizards from different cultures or different times that it gets risky.

However, one thing I'm experimenting with at the moment is precisely at the culture/language level, not in the magic.  That is, the magic is pretty much the same underneath, but wizards need to learn languages and cultures to understand what is being said at all.  It becomes a translation or anthropological thing rather than skill in magic.  It's possible to have a wizard character that might only be so-so at magic themselves, but more capable than most at using other scrolls because they can understand them.